Michigan Association of School Administrators

Your Success. Our Passion.

Member Blogs

Blog Authors

David Britton, Godfrey-Lee
Rich Franklin, Athens
Scot Graden, Saline
Tony Habra, Rudyard
Jerry Jennings, MASA
Michele Lemire, Escanaba
Vickie Markavitch, Oakland
Steve Matthews, Novi
Mike Paskewicz, Northview

MASA members: If you have a blog that you would like us to link please contact jharder@gomasa.org

Let’s Talk…..

Written by Scot Graden on Sep 30, 2014

In the Internet age — with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blogs, forums and email compounded by chatter at the bus stop, at the grocery store and in the hallways — it can be difficult for any superintendent to feel confident about hearing the full story from his or her community. I feel like I am visible in Saline, but am I getting the full story? That’s where Let’s Talk! comes in.

This month, we launched Let’s Talk!, a 24/7 technology platform that will give everyone — parents, students, teachers and community members — an outlet for questions, comments, compliments or concerns. Our goal is to always be listening to you and for you to feel heard.  If you lose the link, a Let’s Talk! button is located on our main district website.

As we start working with Let’s Talk!, I would like to ask you to share your thoughts about the opening of the school year. Were there particular successes you want to point out? Are there areas we should work to improve for next year? Are there changes we can make now?

Submissions through Let’s Talk! will be automatically directed to the appropriate staff member for follow up. In addition to the school opening topic, there are links to connect you to several key district departments and my office. If you provide contact information, we promise to respond within a day of your submission. If you choose to submit anonymously, your feedback will still be reviewed and taken under consideration.

It will take support from our community to reach our goal of inspiring our students to become lifelong learners, and so I encourage you to join the conversation. I do know that we grow stronger as a community when we work together to ensure success for every student.

Just the Facts on Cuts to Classroom Funding

Written by David Britton on Sep 29, 2014
Total amount of classroom funding in our district cut under Governor Rick Snyder's tenure:

Source: http://www.kidsnotceos.com/school-district-cuts

Medical Teams in Each Building--Another Safety Net!

Written by Michele Lemire on Sep 25, 2014
During these first few weeks of school, our school Nurse, Julie Cass has spent time working with each school's medical teams. Medical teams consist of staff members who have risen to the challenge to take on the responsibility to "act" in the event of a medical emergency (students, staff, visitor) in our buildings. Teams have received updated training on steps to take in the event of a cardiac event (CPR), severe allergic reactions (EPI-Pens), and other medically-related issues. They know the tools/resources to take as well as the procedures to use in the short term, while awaiting further assistance from public safety, ambulance staff, etc. The important thing to know is that a plan exists in every building if the need arises.

These are the kinds of plans that one would hope would never need to be enacted. However in the last weeks, the medical teams HAVE been dispatched and been the first responders to take care of individuals suffering from an event.

Parents and community members may wonder and worry about what is going on when students mention that an ambulance came to school, or if upon driving by happen to notice flashing lights outside a building. Please know that prior to any ambulance/police car arriving, our medical teams have already been a force in taking care of the situation.

It is hard to predict when such an event will occur. Sometimes it surprises us when we have repeated events within a short period of time. We have students and staff with known medical needs who attend and work in our schools, but we also have some who we have no indication that a potential medical issue could erupt.  While we have in place proactive measures to hopefully minimize a medical crisis, if one should occur, we have plans as well as procedures we will put into action.

I appreciate all of our staff members who have given their talents and time to serve on medical teams in our schools. Thanks also to Julie Cass, who helps us know the correct ways to help in these situations.  Your efforts thus far this year have truly been beneficial to the individuals who needed such care. You have made a positive difference!

The Evolution of Digital Technology Tools Explained

Written by David Britton on Sep 24, 2014
"1) everything that’s already in the world when you’re born is just normal;
2) anything that gets invented between then and before you turn thirty is incredibly exciting and creative and with any luck you can make a career out of it;
3) anything that gets invented after you’re thirty is against the natural order of things and the beginning of the end of civilization as we know it until it’s been around for about ten years when it gradually turns out to be alright really.”

― Douglas Adams

Threats - real, perceived, and created

Written by Steve Matthews on Sep 23, 2014
Threats are all around us.

Some are real. Some are perceived. Some are created.

Take, for example, birds.

Birds face real threats. Cats, high tension wires, cars. Each of these threats kill lots of birds.

But the biggest threat to birds are buildings and windows. Out of every 10,000 bird deaths, buildings and windows are responsible for close to 6,000. (See chart below.)

Yet, wind turbines and windmills used to generate electrical power are often blamed for bird deaths. True wind turbines and windmills do kill birds. But the numbers are incredibly small when compared to the other threats that face birds.

What does this have to do with education?

Our students face many threats to learning.

Some of the threats are real. Poverty, lack of opportunity, safe learning environments. Each of these present real threats to students learning.

Yet, there are some who would have us believe that teachers are the greatest threat to student's learning.

It is just not true. Teachers, by and large, have a tremendously positive impact on students and their learning. Teachers help connect students in meaningful ways to their lessons. Teachers create enthusiasm for their subject. Teachers help students learn.

Are their teachers who pose a threat?

Yes. But the number of teachers who pose a threat is so very small. I understand that when teachers do pose a threat to learning - through indifference, through neglect, through incompetence - the outcomes can be devastating. I am not trying to minimize that negative impact.

But there are some in our society who seem to promote this idea that it is the teachers who pose the greatest threat to students. These people then work hard to create policies and pass laws that unnecessarily focus on changing teachers.

There are other threats to student learning that are so much more powerful and devastating than teacher indifference or incompetence.

Instead of creating a threat let's focus on the real threats to student learning - poverty, societal indifference to learning, learning environments that are not safe, and on and on - and work hard to eliminate those threats.

That will make a real difference in our students' lives!